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Best time to take vacation during articling

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1 hour ago, Ophelia said:

And this attitude is why we have a mental health crisis in law. There is nothing wrong with taking vacation time that you are entitled to. In fact, it probably makes you a happier, healthier and more productive employee. 

Sure, but then don't complain if someone else got hired back ahead of you who didn't think they were "entitled" to things.

I do agree that if you are given the time, you should feel free to use it, but how and when should be considered. And don't go talking to your principal about planning a trip for no particular reason a year before you start, before they see your work.

Also, plenty of lawyers, namely soles, are self-employed, not "entitled" to vacation and have to do a lot of planning to take one. Which I agree can be stressful - time off to recharge is important. But when you article, you're coming out of three years of school where you had regular time off and a pretty leisurely life. You don't need a mental health break that fast.

Edited by providence
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On 10/13/2018 at 3:55 AM, QuincyWagstaff said:

When you're done. 

This. Take advantage of every minute because it goes by quickly. During my articles, there were a few days between Christmas and New Years when I was the closest thing to a lawyer in our office. Everyone else took time off. As it happened, there were a bunch of unexpected crises that I had to handle with minimal guidance over the phone. In retrospect, it was one of the most valuable training experiences I had.

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3 hours ago, providence said:

Sure, but then don't complain if someone else got hired back ahead of you who didn't think they were "entitled" to things.

I do agree that if you are given the time, you should feel free to use it, but how and when should be considered. And don't go talking to your principal about planning a trip for no particular reason a year before you start, before they see your work.

Also, plenty of lawyers, namely soles, are self-employed, not "entitled" to vacation and have to do a lot of planning to take one. Which I agree can be stressful - time off to recharge is important. But when you article, you're coming out of three years of school where you had regular time off and a pretty leisurely life. You don't need a mental health break that fast.

Where I work, you're not judged by the fact you take vacation time off that you contractually receive, but by the quality of your work and a reasonable level of output. I'm glad that's the attitude of my articling principal too, who happens to be a senior litigator and is no shrinking violet when it comes assessing articling students by exacting standards.

The prior poster Opehila is right. The attitude of you have to "man up" and "suck it up", and that taking time off that you have received should be viewed as a risk lest it impact hire-back, is exactly the sort of attitude that contributes to a mental health crisis in law.

Edited by EMP
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2 hours ago, EMP said:

Where I work, you're not judged by the fact you take vacation time off that you contractually receive, but by the quality of your work and a reasonable level of output. I'm glad that's the attitude of my articling principal too, who happens to be a senior litigator and is no shrinking violet when it comes assessing articling students by exacting standards.

The prior poster Opehila is right. The attitude of you have to "man up" and "suck it up", and that taking time off that you have received should be viewed as a risk lest it impact hire-back, is exactly the sort of attitude that contributes to a mental health crisis in law.

The post you quoted contained sensible advice from an experienced lawyer. Your reaction is, frankly, bizarre.

Edited by secondchance
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12 hours ago, Ophelia said:

And this attitude is why we have a mental health crisis in law. There is nothing wrong with taking vacation time that you are entitled to. In fact, it probably makes you a happier, healthier and more productive employee. 

I think we're taking two different approaches here. In an ideal world, I agree with you. Although articling isn't on part with a medical residency working 80-100 hours per week, it can certainly be taxing and a person needs to be able to relax from time to time to maintain their focus. 

I also think they should scrap articling altogether. The experience widely diverges based upon the firm a person lands at. It is not well regulated and it forces people to effectively run through a "rat race." X stayed until 11 PM today? I guess I should too. Y took on the last 3 projects, I need to show that I'm busy as well etc. Not to mention all the unpaid articling positions which totally screws with a person.

Given the state of the legal market, I think law schools should follow Lakehead's example - incorporating mandatory practical components to the legal education curriculum would provide students with the hands-on experiences they need to graduate law school and be ready to hit the ground running asap. Lakehead graduates are therefore not required to article because they've already obtained that practical experience. 

But as articling probably isn't being scrapped any time soon, and as many legal employers are very old-school and feel that as they were over-worked, so should we be in the beginning of our careers, than that's the unfortunate reality we are in. So yes, I stand by my original argument.

Is the situation perfect? No. Want to get hired back? Hustle like you've never hustled before. And that includes minimizing time-off.

Edited by CanadianJD27
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I just love this idea that you absolutely need two weeks off every ten months from your moderately stressful and likely decently paying job, and that the two month vacation before and the (likely) two month vacation after is just completely inadequate. 

There’s so much privilege and entitlement wrapped up in those thoughts. 

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43 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

I just love this idea that you absolutely need two weeks off every ten months from your moderately stressful and likely decently paying job, and that the two month vacation before and the (likely) two month vacation after is just completely inadequate. 

There’s so much privilege and entitlement wrapped up in those thoughts. 

And if you don't get to take a trip in that ten months you will have a mental health crisis. Don't forget that.

I mean, they do give you two weeks, and you are entitled to use it, don't get me wrong. And it's perfectly fine to take a few mental health days here and there - articling can be intense. I just think the approach of "I'm entitled to take an awesome trip so let me plan this big adventure a year in advance" IS entitled and is also a bit inconsiderate to your eventual employer. If it's not something like a close relative/friend's wedding, or surgery, or some other major life event, wait till you start, figure out the least busy times, ask, and probably split up the time rather than take two straight weeks. And be open to the fact that you don't HAVE to use all the days and can be paid out for them - don't take a trip just for the sake of taking a trip or because everyone else is. Do what you need to do to function well but commit yourself to your work. 

 

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I’m surprised articling students get two weeks now, when I was a student I got one week. I agree that it’s not a good idea to plan a trip during artlicling before you even start. Better to play it by ear and book a last minute trip than to be the person who says on day 1 that they already know they will be away on certain days. I do think you should use at least one of weeks that you’re given, though (maybe split it into two long weekends). I do think it’s important to be able to recharge your batteries.

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I don't understand how lawyers even manage to take vacations in their junior years. I feel like I have to work every day in order to meet hard deadlines. To take a vacation I would have to work twice as hard before I leave, put out fires when I'm away, and work twice as hard to catch up when I'm done.

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18 minutes ago, setto said:

I don't understand how lawyers even manage to take vacations in their junior years. I feel like I have to work every day in order to meet hard deadlines. To take a vacation I would have to work twice as hard before I leave, put out fires when I'm away, and work twice as hard to catch up when I'm done.

I couldn’t afford it at first, and even when I could was too cautious to justify dropping money on a pleasure trip. I did remember though - I said I didn’t take any time off in articling, but I did take 2 days for US Thanksgiving. I did take road trips to the US now and again, mostly over holidays, but I never went to a winter destination or Europe or any of that stuff. I started taking longer holidays to the US 3 years in or so. Your description of the shifting workload is pretty accurate, too. 

So to me, an articling student who just has to go to Mexico in the winter or needs to take a trip to Europe just because is obscenely privileged, I can’t relate and I may just be very jealous 😀

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I'm not weighing in on the rightness or wrongness of it, but in my experience articling students do not typically take vacations or extended periods of time off, like you would in normal employment relationships. YMMV based on your firm.

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Depends on the firm honestly. And your workload. Obviously if people are depending on you, dropping everything to take a week-long trip to Europe would be the worst thing for your long-term employment. But if you can manage to take the time, I don’t see why you shouldn’t go for it. 

A friend took a week not that long ago, and they’re at one of the Seven (ugh). I doubt they will have any trouble getting hired back. I took single day recently just because I could and I felt like I could use a shorter week. No one gave a crap. 

If you’re a good student and are strategic about taking time off, as long as you’re entitled to the time and you don’t put anyone in hot water by leaving, I don’t see why you can’t do it.

Any place that would gripe about an articling student taking time off generally, or not hiring a student back because they took time off despite the fact that it didn’t really impact anyone’s work, is not anywhere I’d like to be employed. 

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7 minutes ago, Ryn said:

Depends on the firm honestly. And your workload. Obviously if people are depending on you, dropping everything to take a week-long trip to Europe would be the worst thing for your long-term employment. But if you can manage to take the time, I don’t see why you shouldn’t go for it. 

A friend took a week not that long ago, and they’re at one of the Seven (ugh). I doubt they will have any trouble getting hired back. I took single day recently just because I could and I felt like I could use a shorter week. No one gave a crap. 

If you’re a good student and are strategic about taking time off, as long as you’re entitled to the time and you don’t put anyone in hot water by leaving, I don’t see why you can’t do it.

Any place that would gripe about an articling student taking time off generally, or not hiring a student back because they took time off despite the fact that it didn’t really impact anyone’s work, is not anywhere I’d like to be employed. 

That’s exactly it. A) be a good student, which you’re not before you even start, and B) be strategic about it. I can’t imagine that anyone reasonable would have any issue with that or that it would affect hire back.

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One person the year ahead of me took two weeks off at the start of his rotation in a notoriously terrible group that he didn't have an interest in. They ended up cancelling his rotation and giving him a second rotation in his preferred group and another student ended up with a double rotation in the terrible group.

Both got hired back, the first guy into his preferred group. The second is now an in-house cannabis lawyer.

The only point here is just assess the situation at your own firm and go from there.

Edited by Rashabon

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10 hours ago, secondchance said:

The post you quoted contained sensible advice from an experienced lawyer. Your reaction is, frankly, bizarre.

To be clear, I’m referring to the comments expressed in the post below, which is what Ophelia had commented is a problematic attitude and was being responded to, in part, in the post I quoted:

Articling is a period when you need to “man up.” Long hours? Suck it up. Lots of projects? Smile and keep hustling. Asked to do mundane tasks? Sure no problem. That’s the attitude you need to have during articling if you want to get hired back/want a solid reference. Using time off - unless it’s absolutely necessary I wouldn’t use it.

Edited by EMP

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7 minutes ago, EMP said:

To be clear, I’m referring to the comments expressed in the post below, which is what Ophelia had commented is a problematic attitude and was being responded to, in part, in the post I quoted:

Articling is a period when you need to “man up.” Long hours? Suck it up. Lots of projects? Smile and keep hustling. Asked to do mundane tasks? Sure no problem. That’s the attitude you need to have during articling if you want to get hired back/want a solid reference. Using time off - unless it’s absolutely necessary I wouldn’t use it.

Well, you do need to work long hours, do lots of projects, and you may have to do mundane tasks from time to time (as do lawyers.) I don't think any of that is problematic. You will have to suck it up a bit to get hired or get a solid reference. Obviously, principals have to be reasonable and there are limits, but generally, this is true. 

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On ‎10‎/‎12‎/‎2018 at 11:42 PM, providence said:

Most reasonable firms will let students take reasonable sick days that do not impact their vacation time, though. We do. No one wants someone spreading a bad flu around the office or sitting around groaning in pain unable to function. And likewise if someone has a true emergency to deal with, most people will allow them to go do that. There might not be monthly sick days, but a day or two or three over the articling period is no big deal.

I was thinking more in terms of the maximum days that the Law Society allows a student to take off during articling, not the firm. I don't know what province the OP is articling in, but in Ontario you get a maximum of 10 days off in the 10 month period. If you take additional days off, for whatever reason, you need tack them on to the end of your articling term. 

With that, all I was suggesting is maybe don't take all 10 days off for vacation, because if you do get sick or have an emergency or have to take more days off for whatever reason, your articling period will be extended accordingly. 

 

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31 minutes ago, ghoulzrulez said:

I was thinking more in terms of the maximum days that the Law Society allows a student to take off during articling, not the firm. I don't know what province the OP is articling in, but in Ontario you get a maximum of 10 days off in the 10 month period. If you take additional days off, for whatever reason, you need tack them on to the end of your articling term. 

With that, all I was suggesting is maybe don't take all 10 days off for vacation, because if you do get sick or have an emergency or have to take more days off for whatever reason, your articling period will be extended accordingly. 

 

Yeah, there are a maximum number of days you can be absent. But at least for us, our students work more than 8 hours/day some days, so if they were out of vacation time and then took a couple of sick days, we'd take it out of their overtime* and it shouldn't impact the length of their term. 

I agree, I wouldn't burn through the full 10 days in the first few months of articles just in case.

*we don't actually pay overtime. But we will note that we've asked someone to work a few Saturdays, so if they need to take a morning or a day off here or there we are fine with it, whether they're sick or have a dentist appointment or a job interview or whatever it is. We don't count that as vacation time and would still pay out their time or allow them to take it. 

We also will initiate the conversation about time off for the winter holidays fairly early, because we know people need to plan, especially if they want to go visit relatives out of town, and Christmas is an insanely busy time for us and we do need someone around. This year, we’re offering Dec 24 as a potential vacation day along with the 25 and 26 as stats we are obligated to give. But we ask that if they take that, they be around at least for Saturday Dec 22 and they have to be back on the 27th. If they prefer New Year’s, they can have the 31st and the 2nd if they give us Sat 29th at least. And they can’t have both. 

In our office, you’ll know you’re doing a great job when we’re saying “Hey Bob, you’ve been working really hard, how about taking some time off? We don’t have much going on in the middle of January or the first week of March.” And you’ll know you’re in the right field if your first thought is “I don’t know if I want to take time off and miss something.”

On the other hand, you’ll know you’re on the wrong track if the answer is “You want time off again, Bob? Well, okay... but do you think the Flores memo can be done before you go? And do you think you can leave on the 15th instead of the 14th? We could really use some help on the 14th.” 

Edited by providence

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On 10/11/2018 at 10:50 AM, providence said:

It’s going to depend on the firm - talk to your principal. Generally taking more than the stats plus maybe a day is frowned upon in the Christmas / New Years period unless they tell you otherwise. July/August are also tricky - basically try to avoid the times when everyone else and the people with kids take time off. If you have an important unmoveable event like a family wedding, let your principal know as they will likely accommodate that whenever it is. 

I never took vacation because I preferred to get paid out for it. If I had, I probably would have split it into separate weeks to give myself a couple of breaks. 

Is getting paid out for vacation you dont take common practice? If so what sort of rate would you get for it? 

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3 hours ago, conge said:

I'm not weighing in on the rightness or wrongness of it, but in my experience articling students do not typically take vacations or extended periods of time off, like you would in normal employment relationships. YMMV based on your firm.

I'm a little surprised and envious that there's so many posters here who expect and get 2 weeks off in only a 10 month articling period.  I'm in Alberta so full 12 month articling term here and I was told on my first day that I wouldn't be permitted a single vacation day while articling.

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